Is the Store Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Injury?

Is the Store Responsible…

Melted snow, fallen merchandise, and wet floors can all create risks of a serious accident. If you fall in a retail business, find out when and how you can hold the store responsible for your slip and fall injury.

Winter Weather Creates Slippery Situations on Sidewalks and Store Floors

Winter in Pennsylvania means ice, snow, and snowmelt. That doesn’t mean residents can stay home when the weather turns poor. What happens if you are headed out to the grocery store to stock up on staples to weather the storm and you fall and hurt yourself? Can you sue the store for your slip and fall injury?

Pennsylvania Premises Liability Lawsuits Depend on Negligence

If you slip, fall, and hurt yourself at a retail store or even at a neighbor’s house, you may have the start of a premises liability lawsuit. “Premises liability” is an overarching term for any lawsuit based on a property owner’s failure to do what they should have to keep their store safe. Premises liability lawsuits depend on the injured party proving “negligence”, which means:

  • The property owner owed you a duty to keep the property safe
  • The store failed to take reasonable steps to meet that duty
  • You were hurt
  • Your injuries were because of the store’s actions or inaction

To hold the store responsible for your slip and fall injury, you and your personal injury attorney will need to show that the property owner, store, or its employees created the danger, knew about it and didn’t do anything about it, or that the risk existed long enough that the staff should have know about the danger.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Premises liability is broad enough to cover a wide range of slip and fall injuries. Any harm that fits within the four criteria above can be the basis for a claim, no matter how strange or unlikely the incident. That said, some of the most common causes of slip and fall lawsuits include:

  • Poorly maintained sidewalks or parking lots create potholes or cracks in the cement
  • Holes in the landscaping or flooring
  • Uneven flooring or carpet that has bunched up
  • Hidden steps or slopes
  • Spills, food, or liquid on the floor
  • Ice and snow

Pennsylvania law has special rules for the maintenance of ice and snow around stores and other properties. If a retailer hasn’t taken reasonable steps to clear snow and prevent ice from building up, the store may be responsible for the harm caused when you slip and fall.

Stores Aren’t Responsible for Every Slip and Fall on the Property

The law may allow you to file a lawsuit for any slip and fall resulting from a store owner’s negligence, but that doesn’t mean you will automatically be able to collect damages. Property owners have defenses they can raise to premises liability lawsuits that could keep you from recovering for the injuries caused by a slip and fall accident:

Plaintiff’s Responsibility for the Fall

Patrons at a store or visitors to a property are expected to watch where they are going and take reasonable steps to avoid obvious dangers. If you could have easily stepped around the ice or should have noticed the spilled liquid on the floor, a jury may find that you were responsible for your own injury and deny your claim for damages.

Property Owners’ Reasonable Efforts

Property owners also can’t be expected to respond immediately to any danger that arises. If you slip and fall in the midst of a snowstorm or cut yourself just after a bottle falls on the floor, the store’s attorneys may be able to show its employees had taken all reasonable efforts to prevent the injury, even if it happened anyway.

Comparative Negligence

Fault for a fall isn’t all or nothing. Sometimes the reality is that a store keeper could have done more to keep the premises clean and you could have been more careful about where you stepped. Pennsylvania law allows jurors to consider “comparative negligence” in premises liability lawsuits. In these gray areas, the jury can find that negligence occurred, but then reduce the amount you are entitled to recover based on your share of the blame.

Pennsylvania’s premises liability laws allow injured residents to hold stores responsible for your slip and fall injury. However, proving the harm and the negligence that caused it can be difficult. If you have been injured at a store, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Berman & Associates can help you prove your case and fend off the property owner’s defenses. We will help you demonstrate your injuries and what caused them so you can recover for all your injuries. We welcome you to contact us to speak with us about how we can help with your premises liability case.

Categories: Personal Injury